WASHINGTON (AP) — Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg has netted an endorsement from Rep. Anthony Brown of Maryland, the first black member of Congress to throw his support to the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana.

The endorsement is significant for Buttigieg, who has been criticized within the party for his scant support among African Americans.

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Brown, 58, belongs to the Congressional Black Caucus, whose membership is courted aggressively by Democratic presidential candidates, and includes a total of 54 lawmakers in the U.S House and Senate.

Former Vice President Joe Biden has the most endorsements from members of the Congressional Black Caucus among 2020 Democratic presidential candidates — a total of nine.

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Brown, also a former lieutenant governor of Maryland, is an Iraq War veteran and vice chairman of the House Armed Services Committee.

The former combat veteran has been named a co-chairman of Buttigieg’s national campaign.

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